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These lights again?
If you've been busy reading articles on the best 1000 watt LED grow lights, you've probably seen the same lights over and over again.
That changes now.
The reason everyone recommends those lights (and then helpfully provides a link to Amazon) is that Amazon pays them an 8% commission whenever someone buys something after clicking on their link.
We recommend different lights, because we base our recommendations on features, not commissions.
Either way, the four 1000w lights we highlight below are the best value for money you'll find on the market today.
All 4 of these lights are excellent. Which one is right for you depends on your personal needs and preferences. This post will help you decide.
|Brand||Green Sunshine Co||NextLight||California Lightworks||Black Dog LED|
|Actual Wattage||600||650||up to 800||630|
|Spectrum||full-spectrum white with UVA and IR||full-spectrum white||full-spectrum||full-spectrum with UVA and IR|
|Coverage Area||4 by 4||5 by 5||4 by 4||5 by 5|
|Best Feature||wideband spectrum||coverage and penetration||one controller for many lights||coverage and penetration|
|Weakness||coverage||only white LEDs||coverage||no customization|
|Get it if you want...||
wideband full-spectrum light
full-spectrum white light
one controller for 1000 lights
the best output per watt
This is the actual amount of electricity the fixture will use. Three of the lights featured here always use the same wattage, while the other one has a range. That's because it gives you some control over the spectrum.
During the vegetative stage of growth, for example, plants don't need as much light as they do during flowering. A fixture that lets you turn off LEDs (or dial back their intensity) when they are not needed will save you money in electricity costs.
There are two factors to consider here: the color of the light and how customizable it is.
1. White LEDs vs. Colored LEDs
First it should be noted that the fixtures using colored LED lights also have some white LEDs in the mix. But the NextLight Mega and the Green Sunshine Company Electric Sky 300 use ONLY white LEDs.
And depending on whom you ask, fixtures using only full-spectrum white LEDs are either amazing or completely worthless.
Here are the two sides:
Pro White Light
Proponents of all-white LED grow lights say their spectrum is the most natural, since it is very similar to the sun. It basically gives you the same light as an HPS bulb combined with a metal-halide bulb. In other words: an HPS spectrum with additional blue light.
HPS light has proven to work well and plants obviously love sunlight, so it only makes sense that white LED light is the best way to go. And it does work, just like the HPS and MH light it replaces.
And white light has one more advantage—one that is very important to some people. Your plants look natural under white light, so it is much easier to inspect them and to notice any discolorations, etc. This can be quite difficult under pink light.
Against White Light
Opponents of white light point out that it's mostly made up of green and yellow light, which is used only minimally by plants and thus mostly goes to waste. This is fine for the sun, since it is an unlimited supply of free light. But when YOU'RE footing the bill, wouldn't it be better to not pay for all that wasted light?
So, which side of this debate are you on? If you prefer all-white light, the NextLight or the Electric Sky are the fixtures for you. If you prefer a mix of colors, you can safely ignore those two lights.
2. Customizable Spectrum
Some lights have separate modes for veg and bloom and some, like the California Lightworks SolarSystem series, give you complete control over the spectrum.
The advantage of this is a lower electricity bill. Plants don't need as much light during vegging as they do during flowering and they need even less during cloning. Being able to dial back the amount of light means you use less power.
But there's a flip side. Some of those savings are offset by a longer grow cycle. When you change the color spectrum mid-grow, plants get a shock and suffer from growth stalling for up to two weeks. Switching modes on an LED light will not cause an overly long period of stalled growth, but you can count on a few days' delay.
During this time, you will have to pay for electricity to run the lights and for nutrients to feed the plants. This won't make up for the savings you get from switching the color spectrum, but a shorter grow time is very important to some. Furthermore, fixtures with only one mode are obviously much easier to operate—just turn it on and forget about it.
1000w LED fixtures generally have an output equal to 900 watts of HPS light, despite what many manufacturers claim.
For our ratings, we gave 4 stars to the fixtures whose intensity is about equal to 900 HPS watts and 5 stars for an intensity better than a 1000 watt HPS bulb.
The Electric Sky 300 is actually much weaker than the other lights, which is why we use two of them for this comparison. Two ES-300 lights are equivalent to a 1000w HID light.
Again, almost all manufacturers claim their LED light penetrates as deeply below the canopy as HPS light, but that is rarely the case. We gave 5 stars to lights that equal the penetration of an HPS bulb and 4 stars if they fall just short.
This is the area in feet that the light will cover during flowering. During vegging, they can cover an additional foot or two in length and width. So a light that covers 4 by 4 feet during flowering will cover 5 by 5 or 6 by 6 feet during vegging.
The Green Sunshine Company Electric Sky 300 is brand-new and one of the most technologically advanced lights on the market. We use two of these lights for this comparison, because two are equivalent to 1000 watts (though two together still cost less than all other lights in this article).
The two groundbreaking features of the Electric Sky lights are the wideband spectrum and the unique configuration of optic lenses.
The wideband spectrum replicates the infrared power of the sun. It is a full-spectrum white light that also contains near red light (IR). It penetrates deeper below the canopy and leads to much higher yields.
The unique optics configure the light from 1 ES-300 into a perfect rectangle, and that from 2 of these lights into a perfect square.
This leads to a much more even distribution that doesn't suffer from the huge dropoff in light in the corners of the coverage area that plagues other lights. It also allows you to hang the light much closer to your plants, without burning them.
A part of NextLight's commercial series, the Mega (link goes to full review) delivers an output equal to a double ended 1000 watt HPS light, but with a spectrum that contains more blue than HPS. In fact, the NextLight spectrum is very similar to natural sunlight and thus works well throughout all grow cycles.
California Lightworks (link to full product review) manufacture their lights entirely in the US from American and German parts. Their lights are exceptionally high quality and they enjoy a stellar reputation in the industry as a result. Like the other lights on this list, they do not make bogus or exaggerated claims about their lights.
Black Dog is the most honest LED company. This light uses 630 actual watts, so they named it the PhytoMax-2 600 (link to full review). Other companies would have called it the PhytoMax-2 1000. Despite the 600 in the name, this light is easily equivalent to 1000 watts of HPS power and is actually the most powerful fixture on this list.